noun [hy•po•pig•men•ta•tion]

Hypopigmentation is the result of a reduction in melanin production or the complete cessation of melanocyte function.

& Causes


UV-induced hypopigmentation

This type of hypopigmentation is typically intermingled with hyperpigmentation. There are no available treatments to re-pigment the white lesions, but the reduction of the surrounding hyperpigmentation will usually make the hypopigmentation appear less noticeable.

Post-traumatic hypopigmentation

Burns, cuts, and other trauma to the skin can result in melanotoxicity (melanocyte death) in that area, resulting in pigment loss of the scar. This type of pigment loss is usually permanent, but over a long period of time, it could re-pigment partially or totally. There are no topical treatments for this type of hypopigmentation.


An autoimmune disorder in which the melanocytes are damaged, causing smooth, white patches of hypopigmentation. It can be localized or appear all over the body. There is no cure for vitiligo, but the topical use of prescription products like tacrolimus (Protopic®), pimecrolimus (Elidel®), or topical steroids can occasionally trigger re-pigmentation of the affected areas.


An inherited disorder caused by an abnormal gene that causes a partial to complete absence of melanin in skin, hair, or eyes. There is no cure for albinism.

Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor is caused by yeast living on the skin. When this yeast (sometimes labeled as a fungal infection) gets out of control, it will cause tinea versicolor. It is very common in subtropical and tropical areas of the world. People who live in tropical areas may have this condition year round. The spots can be lighter than the surrounding skin and appear anywhere on the body. They are much more noticeable when a person is tan. They tend to disappear when the temperature drops and reappear in spring and summer, when the air is humid and hot. Some causes of the yeast overgrowth are excessive sweating, hot, humid air, oily skin, and a weakened immune system.